It’s rare to find the perfect apartment – from the rent, commute time to work, accessibility to establishments, down to the neighborhood.
Moreover, getting an apartment lease is a big commitment. If it’s your first time to rent your own space, you’d be smart to make lots of considerations, lest you spend money somewhere not worthy of the investment. You don’t want to fall in love with that apartment only to be frustrated by it later on. Before you sign your name on that lease, take time to answer these questions first.
- What’s the rent policy?
First, you have to know fixed rate of the apartment before making any deposits so you won’t get cheated by a few bucks. Then ask about the payment terms your landlord prefers. Would he rather receive rent payment in cash? Does he prefer it deposited into a bank account? Or does he want it sent directly to their home address? Take note of your payment scheme and always remember that time of the month when rent is due to avoid penalties or complications.
- Is the apartment safe?
Safety is top priority. Never assume that everything works properly in the apartment. Don’t be afraid to inspect every aspect of the apartment so you can be sure that nothing will fall over your head. If your landlord isn’t willing to pay for major repairs, consider looking for a place somewhere else.
- Does the neighborhood feel safe and quiet?
Before you move in to your new place, try to observe the people around your area, especially the people you’ll be living next to. Make small talk and ask questions. This way, you’ll somehow be able to see if you’ll feel at ease with the new environment.
- Is there a parking space nearby?
Car owners, take note of this. Inspect the neighborhood and see to it that your car will have a secured parking area any time of the day. Surely, you wouldn’t want to shell out any more money on parking tickets or car repairs.
- Is there a pet policy?
This is one of the primary considerations a pet owner looks into when finding an apartment. Ask if the landlord does not allow pets in the premises, or if there is an additional charge for taking in your beloved furry friend. You don’t need to give up your pet to comply with the apartment policy.
- Am I allowed to make changes to the apartment?
Even though it’s just a lease, some renters would like to redecorate and turn their apartments into something of their own. There are landlords who permit changes, as long as these don’t leave permanent markings on the place. But before you start putting up posters and photographs, make sure that the landlord put this into writing (i.e. it is stipulated in your contract) so you cannot be held liable to pay additional dues.
- Which utilities are mine to manage?
You have to know which utilities you are going to pay independently since not all apartments include utility cost in the rent. If your apartment does not charge utilities with rent, immediately contact cable, internet, water and electricity companies to transfer the billing to your name.
- Who pays for maintenance?
In the span of your lease, damages can arise and it pays to know who’s going to shoulder the maintenance cost, particularly if it is not included already in your rent. You might be surprised that the maintenance crew is charging you, not the landlord. This means you are fully accountable for the damages to the apartment. Make sure to note existing scratches, faulty wirings or busted window panes so these will not be charged to you.
- What if I break the lease?
It’s unfortunate to have to move out of an apartment early because it means you’ll have to go through all the hassle of changing homes again may it be due to your career, family or issues in your rented place. Consider this possibility before settling in your apartment and find out if there’s a fee for breaking the contract and what happens to your initial deposit.
Answering these questions will help you make better choices with your living space. In the end, you have to know as much as you can about a place to avoid future problems.